Defence contracts for General Dynamics

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General Dynamics has been awarded $53 million to continue developing an Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle for the US Marines and to produce M61A2 20mm gun systems for the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft.

The US Marine Corps Systems Command in

Quantico, Virginia

, has awarded

General Dynamics Land Systems

a $43 million contract to continue the systems development and demonstration (SDD) phase and full-up system live-fire testing of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).

The EFV is the Marine Corps' highest priority expeditionary modernisation program. The EFV is an amphibious vehicle that allows Marines to implement operational manoeuvres from the sea.

It can launch forces from 20 to 25 nautical miles at sea and transport its crew of three and 17 combat-ready Marines to shore at speeds in excess of 20 knots, three times faster than the current platform's speed. The EFV is capable of speeds up to 45 mph on land and is replacing the 30-year-old, less capable AAV7s.

The majority of work will be performed by General Dynamics Amphibious Systems, an operating unit of General Dynamics Land Systems, Woodbridge, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by September 2009.

Separately, General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products has been awarded a $10 million contract from the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland for the production of 42 M61A2 20mm gun systems for the F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft. This award is part of a planned multi- year procurement with a potential quantity of up to 183 units through to 2010.

The F/A-18E/F gun system is composed of a lightweight 20mm M61A2 gun and a fully integrated, linkless ammunition feed magazine. The system has a switchable firing rate of 4,000 or 6,000 shots per minute and serves as the aircraft's last line of defence in close-in aerial engagements.

The program will be managed from the General Dynamics Burlington Technology Center in Vermont. Gun system assembly will be performed at the company's Saco, Maine, facility. Work is expected to be completed by January 2007.